Ireland govt thrown into crisis ahead of key Brexit talks

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Ireland's deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald is being scrutinised over her handling of a police whistleblower controversy when she was justice minister

A crisis surrounding Ireland’s
deputy prime minister was on Friday threatening the country’s minority
government and throwing key Brexit negotiations into confusion. Fianna
Fail, the country’s main opposition party, is set to table a motion of
no confidence in the deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald — from
the minority Fine Gael government — over her handling of a police
whistleblower controversy when she was justice minister.

The move would weaken Prime Minister Leo Varadkar‘s
minority government ahead of a key summit next month with EU leaders
where the issue of Ireland’s post-Brexit border with Britain will be on
the agenda.

Three weeks ahead of a vital
European summit, Ireland is pushing EU leaders to ensure its concerns
about the border with British-ruled Northern Ireland are taken into
account before Brexit talks can continue, adding an unexpected hurdle to
Britain’s plans.

Fianna Fail props up the minority government, and the prospect of a snap election looms if it removes its support.

Fianna Fail’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan told Irish broadcaster RTE that Fitzgerald “should go”.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney arrived for a meeting in Brussels on Friday, accusing Fianna Fail of jeopardising the national interest.

“Fianna Fail are behaving recklessly here,” he told reporters.

“We
have a precarious situation with the main opposition party that signed
up to a agreement in the country’s interest are now effectively
breaching that and risking an election at a time when there are some
really, really serious issues for the government to manage,” he added.

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